Saving the Church

February 18, 2015

Bob Betterton of Saving the Catholic Church newsletter compares two pontiffs in his latest missive

The Irony of Two Popes: Benedict and Francis

One would have to say that Benedict XVI is a highly conservative theologian, a traditionalist, a fundamentalist and a cleric’s cleric. He is also a severe critic of Vatican II, a bit of a misogynist, an absolutist, an enemy of change and an opportunist.

Francis on the other hand seems to be the antithesis of most, if not all of those attributes. This is best illustrated in the way he has approached the changes he considers essential. It is logical, deliberate and collegial. It is Vatican II-like.
The incredible irony lies in the reality that we are all sub-consciously wishing that he would be more Benedict XVI-like. For example:
• Under Benedict there would not be any advisory group of Cardinals to consult and there certainly would never been a questionnaire circulated on any subject.
• He absolutely would not convene a synod to discuss anything of consequence. The only opinions he has ever found relevant were his own.
• Finally, he would not be considering increasing the size of the College of Cardinals.
Benedict would issue a few encyclicals describing the way things are going to be from here on. He would summarily get rid of anyone who disagreed with him and he would “pack the College of Cardinals” to assure that the new way of doing things could not be changed for a century.
I am coming to believe that Benedict XVI did not decide to retire. It was the work of the Holy Spirit, inflicting a deserved Penance for the disaster imposed on the Church through his systematic dismantling of the vision of Vatican II.

I agree with most of this. The previous two popes formed one papacy, that of reaction.It was to be expected.They drove too many thinking Catholics away with their absolute refusal to hear the Spirit rising in the faithful.They were almost totally tone deaf in this regard.Any institution hates to give up power as Frederick Douglass reminded us:“Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will.”
Betterton goes on to describe elements of the Church Francis can’t fix.
A smart theological friend of mine is pessimistic about the Francis reform, says it will die with him because of the reactionary bishops the last 2 popes named, men who acted as stenographers for everything that came out of Rome.These men, Betterton maintains “for the most part, the archbishops and bishops are opposed to change of any kind and they can delay those changes by obfuscation and inaction.” this is largely true.There may be some conversions but don’t hold your breath.
This is substantially true. Simply look at the stunning inaction around climate change.This is a grave scandal which I highlighted when the Archbishop of NYC looked like a goof by doing nothing when 250,000 marched a few months ago for climate justice. Wasn’t even on his radar. And there’s nothing happening in parishes here,no leadership from the top and generally inadequate pastoring everywhere. The few Vatican ll guys are departing and they are running out a 38 year old priest north of the city, wildly popular because of some pathetic liturgical aberration.
What will save the Church from this is a massive uprising of the faithful. The first part has already happened —massive defections in the best educated parts of the church. This will probably continue on account of the very poor quality of priests being ordained. The laity have gone way past “pay, pray and obey” and are much more theologically in tune and will not tolerate the ”my way or the highway” approach of the insecure new ordinands.

The Bombing of Dresden; the moral Obtuseness of Bomber Harris

February 17, 2015

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“I’ll never forgive those guys Churchill, Attlee for ordering those raids. We were supposed to be the good guys.”
On 13 February 1945, 70 years ago this week British rifleman Victor Gregg, 25, was being held by Germans in a makeshift prison in the city of Dresden along with hundreds of other condemned men. Like the townspeople of Dresden, Gregg did not believe the city would be bombed.  he was convinced that dresden would never be an allied target because of its cultural heritage.How wrong he was.

Gregg now 95 never got over the stunning saturation bombing which immolated over 25,000 people.

He didn’t laugh for 40 years. “I was a nut case.”

This was no naive soldier.

But he did believe there were some rules of warfare.

Churchill didn’t and neither did Arthur “Bomber” Harris who ordered the bombing as Head of Britain’s bomber command. He’d do it again.

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Harris lived to 91, having snuffed out thousands before they had a chhance to live.

“I do not personally regard the whole of the remaining cities of Germany as worth the bones of one British Grenadier”

Such a lovely man.

In his memoirs he writes, “In spite of all that happened at Hamburg, bombing proved a relatively humane method”.

Victor Gregg had another take.

“It was evil” he told BBC TV on Feb 13.

I wasn’t new to murder and bloodletting, he told London’s Daily Mail. I had enlisted two years prior to the outbreak of the second world war and by the time I was 21 I had taken part in one major battle and various smaller ones. I had been in fights where the ground in front of me was littered with the remains of young men who had once been full of the joy of living, laughing and joking with their mates. As each year of the war went by, the fighting got more ferocious, new weapons were introduced and fresh young men became the targets. How I remained a sane person through all this I don’t know.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p02jxx2t

Artists send boycott valentine to Palestine

February 15, 2015

In a February 13 letter to Britain’s Guardian newspaper over 100 artists announce a cultural boycott of Israel

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Along with more than 600 other fellow artists, we are announcing today that we will not engage in business-as-usual cultural relations with Israel. We will accept neither professional invitations to Israel, nor funding, from any institutions linked to its government. Since the summer war on Gaza, Palestinians have enjoyed no respite from Israel’s unrelenting attack on their land, their livelihood, their right to political existence. “2014,” says the Israeli human rights organisation B’Tselem, was “one of the cruellest and deadliest in the history of the occupation.” The Palestinian catastrophe goes on.

Israel’s wars are fought on the cultural front too. Its army targets Palestinian cultural institutions for attack, and prevents the free movement of cultural workers. Its own theatre companies perform to settler audiences on the West Bank – and those same companies tour the globe as cultural diplomats, in support of “Brand Israel”. During South African apartheid, musicians announced they weren’t going to “play Sun City”. Now we are saying, in Tel Aviv, Netanya, Ashkelon or Ariel, we won’t play music, accept awards, attend exhibitions, festivals or conferences, run masterclasses or workshops, until Israel respects international law and ends its colonial oppression of the Palestinians. To see the full list of supporters, go to artistsforpalestine.org.uk

Peter Kosminsky, Mike Leigh, Jimmy McGovern, Phyllida Lloyd, Max Stafford-Clark, Will Alsop OBE, John Berger, Miriam Margolyes, Maggie Steed, Riz Ahmed, Anna Carteret, Jeremy Hardy, Brian Eno, Richard Ashcroft, Gillian Slovo, China Miéville, Aminatta Forna, Hari Kunzru, Liz Lochhead, Hanan Al-Shaykh, Peter Ahrends, David Calder, Caryl Churchill, Sacha Craddock, Selma Dabbagh, Ken Loach, Roger Michell, April De Angelis, Andy de la Tour, Mike Hodges, Rachel Holmes, Ann Jungman, Kika Markham, Simon McBurney, Andrew O’Hagan, Courttia Newland, Michael Radford, Lynne Reid Banks, Kamila Shamsie, Alexei Sayle, Roger Waters, Mark Thomas, Susan Wooldridge, Laura Mulvey, Pauline Melville, Khalid Abdalla, Bidisha, Nicholas Blincoe, Leah Borrromeo, Haim Bresheeth, Victoria Brittain, Niall Buggy, Tam Dean Burn, Jonathan Burrows, Taghrid Choucair-Vizoso, Ian Christie, Liam Cunningham, Ivor Dembina, Shane Dempsey, Patrick Driver, Okin Earl, Leon Rosselson, Sally El Hosaini, Paul Laverty, Eyal Sivan, John Smith, Mitra Tabrizian, Siobhan Redmond, Ian Rickson, Tom Leonard, Sonja Linden, David Mabb, Rose Issa, Gareth Evans, Alisa Lebow, Annie Firbank, James Floyd, Jane Frere, Kadija George, Bob Giles, Mel Gooding, Tony Graham, Penny Woolcock, Omar Robert Hamilton, James Holcombe, Adrian Hornsby, John Keane, Brigid Keenan, Hannah Khalil, Shahid Khan, Sabrina Mahfouz, Sarah McDade, Jonathan Munby, Lizzie Nunnery, Rebecca O’Brien, Timothy Pottier, Maha Rahwanji, Ravinder Randhawa, Leila Sansour, Seni Seneviratne, Anna Sherbany, Eyal Sivan, Kareem Samara, Cat Villiers, Esther Wilson, Emily Young, Andrea Luka Zimmerman, Jeremy Page, Sarah Streatfeild, Colin Darke, Russell Mills, Elaine Di Campo, Treasa O’Brien

In May 2013 Stephen Hawking, the world-renowned scientist and bestselling author who has had motor neurone disease for 50 years, cancelled his appearance at the high-profile Presidential Conference, which is personally sponsored by Israel’s president, Shimon Peres, after a barrage of appeals from Palestinian academics.

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Daniel Taub, the Israeli ambassador to London, said at that time “It is a great shame that Professor Hawking has withdrawn from the president’s conference … Rather than caving into pressure from political extremists, active participation in such events is a far more constructive way to promote progress and peace.

Yeah, great film makers like Mike Leigh (Mr Turner his latest) and Ken Loach are political extremists.More like artists of integrity and men of conscience.

Unlike poor Marty Short, Hamilton’s own comic actoir who actually appeared at the annual Negev Dinner in November. Somebody should bring Short, by all accounts a decent man up to speed on the Jewish National Fund on whose behest he appeared then.

Did not Short realize that the the JNF is a quasi- governmental organization which practices racial discrimination in the buying and selling of land in Israel/palestine. Palestinians need not apply.Try that in Toronto and you’d be hauled into court. We used to have racist covenants like that but common sense, the rights of citizenship and plain old human dignity ushered such discrimination into the Canadian waste bin.A 1998 United Nations Human Rights Council report found that the JNF systematically discriminates against Palestinian citizens of Israel, who make up about 20 percent of the country’s population.

Well, Bravo for those cultural workers for their principled stand, a nice Valentine gift to the people of Palestine.

Bob Simon and the Israeli ambassador

February 14, 2015

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Bob Simon 60 Minutes reporter was killed in a traffic accident in NYC this week .He was 73.

He was one of the few whoever did a truthful story about the horrendous injustice in Israel. He focused on Christians in the West Bank. And in the amen corner the paid liars for Israel went ballistic.

The following is a classic piece of obfuscation and weasledom by the Israeli ambassador who tried to kill the story.If Canadians ever heard honest reporting on Israel they’d be stunned. So far it has not happened.Nor will it in official papers where self-censorship reigns when it comes to Israel.Rick Salutin reminded us in today’s Star that that paper was the only daily in Canada which did not support Harper and his wrecking crew. You are not about to read anything critical about Israel in these papers.

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Bob Simon speaks:

Whenever someone calls you by your first name when you’re interviewing them, as in “let me tell you what really happened Morley,” chances are he’s lying. Honest subjects addressed him as “Mr. Safer.” If you want to make sure you’re not being lied to, do what I’ve done over the last two and a half years, do animal stories.”

Simon’s “gotcha moment” in the Palestinian Christians story is when he challenged then Israeli Ambassador Michael Oren over his attempts to kill the story by going to the head of CBS News. Not surprisingly, Oren calls Simon “Bob”:

Simon again:

According to Israeli government figures, tourism is a multi billion dollar business there. Most tourists are Christian. Many of them are American. That’s one reason why Israelis are very sensitive about their image in the United States. And that could be why Ambassador Oren phoned Jeff Fager, the head of CBS News and executive producer of 60 Minutes, while we were still reporting the story, long before tonight’s broadcast. He said he had information our story was quote: “a hatchet job.”

Michael Oren( israeli ambassador): It seemed to me outrageous. Completely incomprehensible that at a time when these communities, Christian communities throughout the Middle East are being oppressed and massacred, when churches are being burnt, when one of the great stories in history is unfolding? I think it’s– I think it’s– I think you got me a little bit mystified.

Bob Simon: And it was a reason to call the president of– chairman of CBS News?

Michael Oren: Bob, I’m the ambassador of the State of Israel. I do that very, very infrequently as ambassador. It’s just– that’s an extraordinary move for me to complain about something. When I heard that you were going to do a story about Christians in the Holy Land and my assum– and– and had, I believe, information about the nature of it, and it’s been confirmed by this interview today.
Bob Simon: Nothing’s been confirmed by the interview, Mr. Ambassador, because you don’t know what’s going to be put on air.

Michael Oren: Okay. I don’t. True.

Bob Simon: Mr. Ambassador, I’ve been doing this a long time. And I’ve received lots of reactions from just about everyone I’ve done stories about. But I’ve never gotten a reaction before from a story that hasn’t been broadcast yet.

Michael Oren: Well, there’s a first time for everything, Bob.

Rabbis’ righteous anger

February 12, 2015

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Over 500 rabbis from Israel, Britain, the US and Canada have called on the Israeli prime minister to stop demolishing Palestinian homes. Rabbis for Human Rights (RHR) say Benjamin Netanyahu’s stance is against “international law and Jewish tradition.”
Jewish tradition has taken quite a beating in the last 20 years.
Many years ago Alexander Schindler,the head of Reform Jewry in the US warned his co-religionists “We do ourselves irreparable harm when we make Israel our surrogate synagogue.”
If you go into a synagogue and see an Israeli flag at the front, most likely idolatry is being peddled.
The disgusting house demolitions are but the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the utter cruelty of the Jewish state.
it is hopeful to see so many rabbis speaking up like this.
Sadly, most are too terrified of disturbing their congregations—even if it is about such blatant discrimination.
RHR’s open letter came after the Israeli PM announced the destruction of over 400 Palestinian homes in the Israel-controlled part of the West Bank, the territory known as Area C.
“Thousands have been forced to build without permits, and great human suffering is caused when hundreds of homes are demolished each year in Area C alone,” RHR stated in their letter, adding that Israeli planning and zoning laws “severely restrict the ability of Palestinians to build homes, even on the lands that the State recognizes as belonging to them.

According to the rabbis, there has been “no representation or true ability for Palestinians to determine how to properly plan for their communities since local and district planning committees were abolished in 1971. The army plans for them.”
In late January, the United Nations accused Israel of illegally demolishing the homes of 77 Palestinians, including many children, in East Jerusalem and the districts of Ramallah, Jericho and Hebron
“Demolitions that result in forced evictions and displacement run counter to Israel’s obligations under international law and create unnecessary suffering and tension. They must stop immediately,” the OCHA said.
According to the UN office, during 2014 Israel carried out a record number of demolitions in East Jerusalem and Area C.
“The Israeli authorities destroyed 590 Palestinian-owned structures in Area C and East Jerusalem, displacing 1,177 people — the highest level of displacement in the West Bank since OCHA began systematically monitoring the issue in 2008.”
While Israel insists demolitions are carried out because homes are being built without construction permits, the UN’s OCHA says the planning policies applied by Israeli authorities in Area C and East Jerusalem “discriminate against Palestinians.”
Palestinians are trapped in a vicious circle, where they build without permits to later have their homes razed to the ground.
“Palestinians must have the opportunity to participate in a fair and equitable planning system that ensures their needs are met,” the OCHA said.

Demon possession and its antidote

February 9, 2015

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A condo on Bathurst Street, the former  site of St.Peter’s Catholic elementary school.

Sunday’s gospel reading was about healing.
Demons appear inside people. And right at the start of the earliest gospel, Mark. This is a great insight. And it occurs right off the bat in our Holy Story.

When it was evening, after sunset, they brought to him all who were ill or possessed by demons.

The whole town was gathered at the door.
He cured many who were sick with various diseases,
and he drove out many demons,
not permitting them to speak because they knew him.

Exorcism. What to make of such a strange worldview?
Certainly people living under such hardship and occupation by Rome and a corrupt temple leadership had internalized deep fear. Many were “possessed’ and in need of healing.
Yes, possession still occurs when people internalize the superficial values of a culture, the unrealistic expectations,the dreams of shallow success and excess just around the corner for you.Those values are near epidemic in our consumer culture. One needs a deeper grounding to avoid “possession.”

How does one escape these demons?
First of all, there have always been “exorcists’ in our community, beautiful people whose elan vital, compassionate care and sheer joy of living have kept demons way on the periphery.These largely heroic yet unacknowledged shamans exist in every society.Many have been in the “healing” professions, social workers, teachers. therapists, health care people,youth workers, the church etc. They are not famous.They have been taken for granted by and large.But without them, society would disintegrate still further.
So on Sunday in my boyhood parish I prayed in gratitude for the presence in my life of two people who “worked” in a ramshackle downtown Catholic school, St.Peter’s just south of the church. Their names are Mary Sheehan and Sr.Mary of the Cross. I say “are” because they are still “with” me and hundreds of others.

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Where these great women wove their healing magic now stands a very pricey condo. But people should know that there were such anonymous saints among us.They turned bricks and mortar into holy ground.These humble women would be the first to deny any great hymns of praise. They were just living out their faith.
The divine presence is still with us. Sacred ambassadors still walk humbly among us as a conduit to the holy.

We either advance or retard redemption in our daily lives.

On the Brink: Israel and Palestine

February 8, 2015

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Young Jewish doctor Alice Rothchild echoes my own experience in her new book On the Brink: Israel and Palestine on the eve of the 2014 Gaza Invasion.
My recent visit I have described as “my Third Heartbreak Tour.”

We are not lying.

Rothchild writes:

The way that I try to understand this is, I think of my mother. My mother lived through the Holocaust. She was in the U.S. but her emotions were there. She wrote all about the Holocaust. She was an author. She loved the state of Israel; I mean, this was going to be this fabulous place. So watching her go back and forth and write there, and really be part of that country, and then having a daughter who does what I do. And having her realize that I’m not making this stuff up, that this is actually going on. I watched her heart break.

So for many many people, particularly Jews who are very involved in the myth of Israel, coming to terms with this is an emotional heartbreak. They have to give up a dream that they realize they were duped. And so that’s sort of like doing family therapy. I’ve done presentations at temples where people sat around and wept, because they’re confronting the fact that what they had thought was going on wasn’t going on.

That’s a kind of response that you can really work on. Because people are listening and they’re open, and they know you’re bearing witness to what you saw, you didn’t make this up. That’s stuff you can work with, you can help people move on, you can address the pain they’re feeling.

The kind of pushback that’s really hard to deal with is the people who say you’re lying.
My own particular answer answer to tribal Jews who have conflated the state of Israel with Judaism is twofold.

Get back in touch with the universal values of Torah Judaism. Read the prophets till they become part of your bloodstream.

Understand that Israel is not a religion nor is Zionism.It is a state doing terrible things to a subjugated people.

Make aliyah to the West Bank and taste the bitter herbs of Occupation. You will now have an opinion worth listening to.

Otherwise you have nothing to say.

Christians: avoid like the plague parish tours. Alice Rothchild calls these “a mythical view of Israel that is promoted on Holy Land tours.” They are ahistorical exercises in nostalgia and rancid religion out of touch with Jesus. They reflect an inanimate or dead theology, one which substitutes the holy places for the holy people, the ongoing incarnation of Christ exactly where Jesus told he would be found: in the crucified lives of the poor of Palestine.This is the true locus of divine revelation. These people are living under a similar occupation to that which Jesus endured

John Baird, political operative

February 5, 2015

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Finally somebody tells the truth about resigned Tory minister John Baird. Leave it to Haroon Siddiqui to cut through the self-serving booswa on Baird.In another column the fine Star columnist Chantal Hébert got it right when she lauded Baird as a good “political operative.” That nobody can deny. But as far as being anything but a marionette for his boss’s regressive policies, Baird brought nothing to the table.

I have a couple of well-connected friends, one a longtime NGo worker abroad who told me people are in shock at Canada’s loss of global prestige,that of an honest broker.All gone under the Harperites. We are seen as a pale imitation of our once respected international self and a pathetic aper of american Republican values. what a climbdown. Here’s Siddiqui nailing Baird to the mast:

He himself is full of self-serving smugness — how he wrought wonders under the guidance of the Great Leader. Stephen Harper praised him for doing some heavy lifting for the Conservative cause. Both are entitled to mutual self-admiration. Critics are free to take the opposite view.
But it takes shamelessness, a.k.a. unmitigated gall — and/or blind faith in a make-believe world — to claim, as Baird does, that “I have seen the stature of this country grow in the eyes of the world.” Or that “Canada has stood up for the oppressed.” Or that he has taken “Canada’s strength, Canada’s compassion and Canada’s values in every corner of the world.”

The pronouncements are in inverse proportion to reality.
Canada’s status sank so low under Harper that, for the first time in our history, we suffered the ignominy of a loss in a bid for the rotating seat on the UN Security Council. That shameful episode preceded Baird at Foreign Affairs but he became lead spear carrier for the very policies that led to that fiasco, including disdain for the UN, principally because it tries to hold Israel’s feet to the fire of international law.

Canada is still isolated. It was in a minority of nine at the General Assembly when 138 states voted to grant Palestinians “non-member observer state.”

As for Ottawa standing up for the oppressed, ask the Palestinians, now in their 48th year of an oppressive occupation. Some of them pelted Baird’s motorcade with shoes and eggs when he visited the West Bank last month.
Ask the tens of thousands of Egyptians rotting in jails what they think of Canada cozying up to their tormentor, the military dictator Field Marshall Abdel Fattah el-Sissi.
Ask the dissidents in Saudi Arabia and Bahrain what they make of Canada lining up with the rulers who crushed their Arab Spring.

One should chuckle at two ironies.

First here’s a guy who has been at the public trough all his life. Tories love to mock people in the public sector.Now Baird will go out to the private sector and make a load of cash along with his gold plated pension which by the way kicks in at 55 not 65 if he waited for another election.

Why does this guy need the money? He has no kids. Can it be pure greed?

Galbraith

The second irony is this. Tories like Baird are described as having given twenty years of “public service.” Wrong right wingers like Baird have done their damnedest to destroy public service. They are all privatizers who hate unions, trees, lakes and clean air which stand in the way of their friends’ ability to pollute God’s creation.

Siddiqui nailed it when her referred to Baird’s essential shallowness.He had no great ideas about equity, the growing gap, the rape of the climate. he was simply a glib spear carrier for Stephen Harper.

Last word to Siddiqui:
On substance, Baird was seen as shallow by his own diplomats who found him glib and driven by pre-conceived notions. They resented being muzzled by him and Harper, and also the Conservative populist idea of selling off embassies and official residences, properties in choice locations that have long helped promote trade and attract investments to Canada.

Baird travelled a lot — like Hillary Clinton did as secretary of state — but with little to show for it. Whirling dervishes who went nowhere.

Baird was a great success as Harper’s megaphone — a classic case of serving the boss obediently. That’s not the same thing as advancing Canada’s interest or reputation.

Direct Action vis a vis Israel

February 3, 2015

Direct Action has a long and noble career in the history of nonviolent resistance. It begins when most legal venues are exhausted and those in power or in this case, allied with power—British industry and the supine Tory government —continue to collude with evil, in this case the too long occupation of Palestinian land.

Direct action was employed by both Gandhi and Martin luther King Jr.. The movie SELMA shows us a glimpse of such action.

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When nine of us climbed on to the roof of an Israeli drone engine factory last August, Israel’s assault on the besieged Gaza strip was in its’ 28th day. Already 1865 Palestinians were dead, including 430 children, 9567 were Injured, 5500 houses had been destroyed and a quarter of a million – one in six Gaza residents – were refugees.

The offensive would continue for another 23 days, with the death toll rising to 2205 and half a million displaced according to the United Nations. Our action was part of huge mobilisations for Palestine and Boycotts, Divestment and Sanctions against Israel, including 150,000 on the streets of London and copycat rooftop occupations at Thales in Glasgow and Elbit in Melbourne.

UAV Engines, owned by Israel’s biggest arms producer Elbit Systems, and based near Litchfield, manufactures engines for the Hermes 450, Israel’s ‘field tested’ and ‘combat proven’ weapon of choice. Armed drones are increasingly substituting financially and politically expensive F16s, tanks and soldiers on the ground in Israel’s wars.

The decision taken by the CPS to drop charges against us shows us that either Elbit Systems were unwilling to testify in court about their activities or because the UK government was unwilling to comply with the court’s order to disclose information it holds about licenses for arms exports to Israel, or both. The focus of the case was going to be whether or not Elbit were engaged in ‘lawful activity’ at the factory. Our contention was that the entire enterprise and arms trade with Israel are unlawful.

If we had had our week in court, the Judge would have heard expert testimony from Amnesty International, Al Mezan Director Mahmoud Abu Rahma, Channel Four News’ Paul Mason, Norwegian surgeon Dr Mads Gilbert and our own eyewitness testimonies from Operation Cast Lead in 2008-2009, and Operation Pillar of Cloud in 2012.

Out of a total death toll of 1410 during Cast Lead, death by drone was the key method of killing with 513 people including 116 children killed according to the Al Mezan human rights organisation.

Israel’s next operation – Pillar of Cloud – was launched in November 2012 and lasted eight days. It set a precedent in that it was entirely carried out through aerial bombardment and relied on drone reconnaissance including 14 aerial strikes documented by Human Rights Watch “for which there was no indication of a legitimate military target”.

According to researchers at Drone Wars UK, Operation Protective Edge saw 831 significant strikes in 51 days, not including minor strikes.

Allegations of war crimes and the deliberate targeting of civilians and civilian infrastructure have been leveled at Israel by multiple human rights organisations and international agencies. The charges against us may have been dropped but we still charge Elbit, Israel and the British government with direct perpetration and complicity with crimes against humanity. Israel’s humiliating and collectively punishing blockade of Gaza, as defined by the UN Goldstone Report of 2009, is in its’ tenth year. This in of itself is a daily war crime.

The legal net needs to and will close in on Israeli impunity. Whether it’s the Palestinian Authority taking claims to the International Criminal Court or citizens taking direct action which forces implicated companies to respond – in our case, a silent dropping of our charges – we know that the UK government and these arms companies are running scared.

The de-sensitized, joystick killing that drone operators engage in, one hand on a virtual trigger, the other conceivably in a bag of popcorn, on the other side of the world (RAF Waddington in Lincoln in the case of strikes in Afghanistan) represents a new culture and industry of killing which allows for unaccountability, impunity and desensitization which make mass murder easy, clean, and distant.

History has shown us how separation and bureaucratisation within ideological projects focused on eliminating dissidents and ‘problem populations’ have unfolded. Our fight against militarisation is also the fight against the demonisation and dehumanisation of any group or class.

We hear so much scaremongering from the political Right in this country about ‘home-grown terror’ and how ‘Muslims must do more to stop it’. Well there’s terror being planned and produced right here in the UK just outside Birmingham, but not in a mosque as Fox News could have us believe, but in arms factories, like UAV Engines, equipping Israel to massacre Palestinians in Gaza, and the government is doing nothing to stop it.

Can you really spend two days on the roof of a drone factory, allegedly cost a company thousands in delayed exports and ‘get away with it’? It seems you can and the message from us is, ‘Up the Ante’, take direct action. Echoing Palestinian civil society groups, the UK government needs to shut UAV Engines and impose a two way military embargo on Israel. There is no place for these companies or any trade with Apartheid Israel whilst it continues to violate international law and human rights on an ever more violent scale.

London Palestine Action

American priorities: The Stupor Bowl

February 2, 2015

Amnesia-making pro sports

Absurd tailgate parties

“Distracted from distraction by distraction.”T.S.eliot

Bloated war budget.

Citizenry asleep

Illiterate Republican majority

Private gain over public squalor

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